Mental Health Update

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Anonymous I think a lot of people shy away from talking about things like depression and anxiety for a valid reason. It’s scary to talk about. At first, that is. When a name was given to the pit in my stomach and sweat on my palms, it suddenly seemed like something was horribly wrong with me. Getting diagnosed with an anxiety disorder left me feeling broken and inadequate; I perceived my diagnosis as a sign of weakness. It was scary to me that my mind didn’t work like everyone else’s, so I hesitated talking about it because it produced a sense of resentment towards my own body and mind. People don’t blame patients when they’re physically sick.  And, more often than not, you can see when someone is injured. The cast on their arm or the darkness under their eyes will tell you. It’s a little trickier when it comes to mental health. There’s no cast or brace to show the pain I feel. Explaining the weight of depression and anxiety to others usually feels hopeless. Too often people only believe what they see. Articulating the pain in my heart and inability to wake up in the morning with a purpose is difficult. Most of the time I can’t articulate how I feel to my own self and my therapist, let alone my peers who question me. A feeling of invalidation is always there. Multiple times a week, students will slip the “ugh I’d kill myself” at school or “kms” over text. Little do they know that some of their peers experience those emotions, and to say it so casually invalidates our experience. When they notice I’m there, they apologize, but it never stops. They know my story and where I’ve been, yet they don’t seem to change their ways. I guess it’s hard to change the rhetoric you’re used to, but I can guarantee it’s not as hard as facing depression. I made a speech in my junior English class about my story. As a survivor, it was important to me to use the platform I had to force people to listen and to start talking about mental health. I’m not just a number. I’m not just another statistic. I’m not my attempt. I wanted people to see me as a person, someone just like them who lives with anxiety and depression. I wanted to prove that people do not need to show their disease or articulate their pain in order to be valued. Your emotions are valid, and your experience is valid. To whoever may need it, know you are loved, seen, and heard. It takes nothing to be empathetic towards those struggling with mental health.   I know it’s scary to talk about. I’m hoping that this piece eases that fear. I want to empower others to share their stories without fear of being ridiculed or invalidated. So we can live in a world where there is no fear and shame in talking about mental health.]]>